I am writing this from one of the new purple Chinese buses, going to Massiv. It’s definitely better than our minibus, and a lot better than the older Chinese buses we still have (like number 36 or 26). Still a little too small, though, but better than the green buses that have less power than a horse.
Just noticed this beautiful mosaic on a building at the beginning of Saryan street. I don’t know who did this copy of a Saryan painting or when, but I really like it!
I was just looking at some funny pictures on Facebook and remembered a beggar with a creative sign I saw in Chicago on my last day there. The sign said: “Too ugly to prostitute, too dumb to steal.” Too bad I didn’t take his photo.
Since a few years ago, every spring, trees are massacred in Yerevan in the name of “prunning.” I guess our street will not have shade during the hot summer, once again. Does prunning have to be so severe? What’s wrong with having shade in the summer?
I went to submit my annual tax declaration today and was pleasantly surprised by the changes they made in the way they treat taxpayers.
How it works now: You go in a large room with lots of windows, all clearly marked. You approach any available employee, hand in your declaration. She looks over to make sure you didn’t miss anything, stamps and dates your own copy and returns it to you. Done. Total time - 2 minutes (once a year).
How it worked before: You go there every three months (declarations used to be quarterly), find a long, long line. Wait for ever. When your turn comes, the guy looks at your declaration and says: “You have surely under-reported your income; go put a bigger number there.” You protest and refuse to do it, he backs off. Then he tells you to go to room number X and get it signed by the head of the X department. You go there, the guy is not there. You ask around, no one knows where he is. You wait and wait. Then he comes, signs the papers and sends you to get someone else’s signature. The same things happens there. Sometimes they send you to see a third person. After about 30 mins or so, you get back in the first long line. Finally, you hand in your declaration. When you ask them to sign your own second copy (as required by law), they shrug and say you don’t need a second copy. You insist, they sign it grudgingly. Total time- anywhere between 30 mins to infinity.
As you can see, there is a HUGE improvement. Now, If they could just stop their highly annoying practice of calling every single month and asking you to make your tax payment (even though you don’t have to pay monthly, you can do it on a quarterly basis), everything would be perfect!
I take back everything I said about streets being cleared of snow and ice. They did clean the streets a few times this year, but seemed to abandon all efforts to remove the snow after the heavy snowfall a few days ago. As a result, most streets are covered in a thick layer of ice and/or snow. I guess we are back to normal.
Let It Snow!
We have had some seriously beautiful snow yesterday, coming down in big flakes for hours. The whole city is white and pretty now. Walking around the center of the city, I noticed something I had NEVER EVER EVER EVER seen before - every sidewalk on every street in the center was cleared of snow, using special snowplow vehicles. They do clear the roads (where cars go) regularly, so that’s not new, but they had never cleared sidewalks before. Normally people would walk on snow, which would then turn into ice, then get polished and stay that way for weeks. But now you can actually walk around the city without running the risk of breaking your neck. What’s going on?
A typical conversation in France goes like this:
- Where are you from?
-Oh, le pays de Charles Aznavour! (Aznavour’s country)
The same conversation in the US or UK sounds like this.
-Where are you from?
However, there has been a change in the US in the last year or so. Already twice, upon hearing I was from Armenia, the follow-up question was: Do you know Kim Kardashian?
Is that good or bad?
My first dog’s puppies, February 2001